Riad Al Solh Square was one more time the destination of Lebanese protesters after the Parliament’s newly approved taxes.
Since 2012, lawmakers have been looking for means to finance the new wage hike for civil servants and public and private teachers.
The cost of the bill that would offer public sector workers, including teachers, new salary packages is estimated at LL1.2 trillion ($800 million).
Lawmakers have imposed 22 new taxes besides increasing the VAT (value-added tax) by 1%, going from 10 to 11%. The self-elected parliament considered it as the only solution for the problem, excluding deputies of the Kataeb Party and the Progressive Socialist Party.
Protesters in Tripoli, Saida and Beirut had let out their anger on Thursday night, refusing the new decisions and exposing the consequences: the country’s total impoverishment.
Translation: “Anyone else feels like they are forcing us to leave (the country)?”
Among the taxes and levies, lawmakers increased fees on cigarettes, alcohol, cement and stamps. In addition to:
- increasing the fees of public notaries
- modifying taxes on income and revenues
- adding a 1.5% tax on construction licenses
- imposing taxes on passengers leaving the country (through land or sea, and depending on one’s travel class)
Some went further and accused the parliament of making sectarian decisions such as the increased fees on alcohol that is considered to be consumed by the Christians of the country more than the Muslims.
Politically-neutral movements such as “Tol’et Rihetkun” and “Sab’a” are inciting citizens to fill up the streets and demand their rights.
— Nour Hemadi (@nourHemadi) March 17, 2017
— Najwa Saab (@najwarasbey) March 17, 2017
It's time we speak up and claim our basic rights for a decent life!#ليش_نازل_تتظاهر
— Madonna Jindy (@MadonnaJindy) March 16, 2017